The Toyota C-HR gets a dash of GR Sport

by Petrol Mum

“Red ones go faster” is a trope I recall from my childhood and the colour red is meant to promote adrenaline release and feelings of excitement or intensity and passion. Toyota obviously believes this to be true if the name of the colour of this C-HR GR Sport is anything to go by; it’s called ‘Feverish Red’.

Of course the colour of something isn’t actually going to make it go any faster, but the bits under the paint certainly should. Here lies a slight problem for the GR Sport C-HR because it is still powered by the same 1.8 litre, 4-cylinder hybrid engine found in the other C-HR hybrid models. This engine produces a combined 90kW and there is no listed 0-100km/h time. The lazy 7-speed auto CVT combined with front-wheel drive should be enough to tell you this C-HR isn’t going to light your world on fire.

What will excite you about the engine is how much, or that should be, how little fuel it uses. Toyota recommends the use of 91RON petrol in the C-HR and the official combined fuel consumption for the hybrid is 4.3L/100km. For my week on 95RON petrol I used 5.1L/100km and this was better than what I achieved previously with the C-HR Koba hybrid where I used 6.1L/100km. You can select to drive in pure EV mode for certain driving conditions, in normal drive mode or B drive mode, which increases the amount of regenerative braking from the system.

What this little red SUV does have over the other C-HR models is GR Sport suspension and bracing, that lowers it by 15mm, GR Sport brakes, and 19-inch alloy wheels. Without a back-to-back drive with a standard C-HR I could not say if these change the vehicle dynamics in any way, but I did take note that the SUV rode well on typical urban roads. There is certainly no denying though that the C-HR GR Sport does look the part with its GR Sport front bumper that increases the overall length by 5mm, and external GR Sport badging.

On the inside the GR Sport treatment is continued with GR Sport push button start, GR Sport pedals, GR Sport shift lever and knob, and GR Sport door garnish. I liked the dual use of material on the GR Sport leather accented seats and I thought they looked and felt special and I was able to find a comfortable driving position even though the seat only had manual adjustment.  The leather steering wheel was nice to hold, but visually I didn’t like the sloped look of its bottom half and the use of the gloss black plastic there. The cruise control stalk is located on a stalk behind the wheel and this is also a little attractive and inconvenient.

The 8-inch central colour touchscreen display allows you to connect to the myToyota app or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. The satellite navigation has the SUNA traffic channel and you can use the voice recognition to set a destination, but I found it took a couple of attempts to do this. The voice recognition was also a bit hit and miss for making phone calls and like many other car companies the image on the voice control button on the steering wheel is a masculine-looking silhouette.

Media sources in the C-HR include AM/FM, Bluetooth, USB and Miracast and you can connect to the infotainment system using the USB port at the front of the centre console or for charging there is also a 12V outlet under the arm rest. Dust does accumulate on the gloss black plastic used on the centre console and dash surround, so I would recommend keeping a micro fibre cloth in the car to keep this clean. I did like the cup holders in the C-HR though with the one in the middle of the centre console having a removable base for larger cups and the one at the front of the centre console suitable for larger drink bottles.

The rear seats have enough head and leg room for two adults to comfortably fit and they would be able to see out of the windows, which was not the case for my children due to the high mounting position of the rear window. The door handle on the exterior is also located at the top of the door so smaller children would not be able to reach it easily.

There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but the width of the C-HR would limit you to using two car seats. There are no central rear air vents or USB ports and no fold down centre seat either. But you do get a mat over the transmission tunnel to prevent carpet wear and the drink bottle holders are located on the door arm rest rather than being lower down, so they are easier for children to reach.  

The boot size in the C-HR is adequate for the weekly shop and the rear seats have a 40/60 split folding mechanism for stowing longer items. The boot lid is manual open/close, has four tie down points, a light and there is a temporary use spare tyre under the boot floor.

Passive safety features include seven airbags with dual frontal, side chest, side head airbags (curtains) and a driver knee airbag. All Toyota C-HR models have a 5-star ANCAP (2017) safety rating with an Adult Occupant Protection of 33.2 out of 38 (87%) and a Child Occupant Protection rating of 38.0 out of 49 (77%).

Toyota Safety Sense including Lane Trace Assist, Automatic High Beam, All-Speed Active Cruise Control and Pre-Collision Safety system with pedestrian detection is standard. In addition the GR Sport also gets Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Road Sign Assist. Overall the Safety Assist features have an ANCAP score of 8.2 out of 13 (68%) and ANCAP tests of the Autonomous Emergency Braking system at highway speeds showed good performance, with collisions avoided or mitigated in all test scenarios.

This C-HR has a standard reversing camera with rear sensors only, auto headlights and auto wipers. One thing that amused me was the tone used for when the seatbelt is disengaged while the vehicle is moving because it starts off softly and gets louder if you ignore it. This made me laugh because it was like a parent asking their child to do something for them and being ignored so they end up yelling at them.

All new Toyota vehicles are backed by a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty. If your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained per its Warranty and Service Book, Toyota will extend your engine and driveline warranty for an additional two years. Toyota will also increase the standard guarantee on new Hybrid batteries to up to 10 years as long as the owner undertakes an annual inspection as part of routine maintenance according to the vehicle logbook. The service interval for the C-HR hybrid is 12 months or 15,000kms, whichever occurs first.

This red one may not go faster, but there is no denying it does look sporty regardless and what the engine lacks in acceleration is makes up for with efficiency. The C-HR 2WD hybrid GR Sport starts at $37,665 plus on-road costs and as tested with Premium Paint ($500) and Two-Tone roof ($ 450) this C-HR was $38,615 plus on-roads. Visit your preferred Toyota dealer for more information on the C-HR range.

It’s a really good looking small SUVA bit more engine performance would be appreciated
The fuel efficient hybrid engineVoice control was a bit hit and miss and button has a masculine silhouette on it
The active safety features included as standardNo central rear air vents

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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